Ralph & Katie star Sarah Gordy: 'It’s wonderful being a leading lady!'

Ralph & Katie - Leon Harrop in a blue coat with furry hood faces Sarah Gordy in a pink and purple striped shirt as Ralph and Katie.
Ralph & Katie - Ralph (Leon Harrop) and Katie (Sarah Gordy) start their married life together in the spin-off from The A Word. (Image credit: BBC/ITV Studios)

Ralph & Katie will reunite viewers with two of the best-loved characters from acclaimed drama The A Word.

The six-part spin-off, airing on BBC One and BBC iPlayer from Wednesday, October 5 at 9pm, will see Leon Harrop and Sarah Gordy reprise their roles as the lovebirds, who both have Down’s Syndrome and who tied the knot in the last series of The A Word back in 2020. 

As Ralph & Katie begins, the newlyweds are settling into married life together and trying to juggle romance and work while asserting their independence with the support of their friends and loved ones.

WhattoWatch chatted to Leon Harrop and Sarah Gordy to find out more about Ralph & Katie and how the pioneering series is placing disabled and neurodivergent talent centre stage…

Ralph & Katie sounds amazing! What appealed to you both?

Sarah Gordy: “This project is close to my heart, I love it. It's wonderful being a leading lady. Doing Ralph & Katie was a big surprise, it was so exciting.”

Leon Harrop: "I thought, ‘Yes! I’m getting my own spin-off at last!’ I can’t wait to be on TV again."

Pooky Quesnel as Louise in a blue coat and animal print scarf gives a scathing look to Dylan Brady as Danny in Ralph & Katie.

Ralph's mum Louise (Pooky Quesnel) disapproves of Ralph and Katie's support worker Danny (Dylan Brady) in Ralph & Katie. (Image credit: BBC/ITV Studios)

Can you set up the premise of Ralph & Katie for us?

Leon: “Ralph and Katie are a married couple now, it’s a proper relationship and the right thing for them. The story begins when they are husband and wife but different things come through like a health scare, things with Katie’s parents [Clare, played again by Sherry Baines, and Steve, played by Nigel Betts] and Ralph’s mum Louise [played once more by Pooky Quesnel].”

Sarah: “Yes, for Ralph and Katie, it’s their journey through the bad times, and also the good times. It’s real life. But both Katie's family and also Ralph’s family are interfering. And it's a nightmare for Ralph and Katie!”

The Royle Family’s Craig Cash is joining the cast as Ralph and Katie’s nosy neighbour Brian, what’s it like working with him?

Leon: “Craig’s brilliant and when we found out that he was playing the character, I was happy, he’s a funny guy. Brian’s like a spy and a stalker though! He thinks he is helping but he’s not!”

Sarah: “Yes, Brian can be annoying at times and Katie sees him as a pillock! But she invites him over at Christmas because she is very caring and Brian is on his own.”

Leon Harrop as Ralph in a blue t-shirt and jeans stands in the archway of a kitchen with Sarah Gordy in a brown pinafore dress as Katie and Jamie Marie Leary in a blue and white jumper and jeans as Emma in Ralph & Katie.

Ralph (Leon Harrop) and Katie (Sarah Gordy) forge a close friendship with Katie's colleague Emma (Jamie Marie Leary) in Ralph & Katie. (Image credit: BBC/ITV Studios)

What can you tell us about the other characters we will see?

Sarah: “Emma [Jamie Marie Leary] is a good friend to Katie. They work together in a bakery and they get on with each other.”

Leon: “And we have Danny [Dylan Brady] who is a very good personal assistant for Ralph and Katie, he comes in and helps them and there’s Matt Greenwood who plays Tom [the family friend who also appeared in The A Word] and Ralph and Katie help him to find a boyfriend!”

Several members of the cast and crew have physical or learning disabilities, are you proud that the show is championing diversity?

Leon: “Yes, it’s great working with people with things like epilepsy or Down’s. It’s special and everyone is nice and friendly.” 

Sarah: “It’s fantastic seeing lots of people with learning disabilities on and off screen, it’s inclusion and it’s great to see people portraying characters who happen to have a learning disability too, because I often speak on behalf of people with learning disabilities myself.”

And have you enjoyed working together again?

Sarah: “Yes, we've got a good partnership!"

Leon: “Sarah is a really good actress so I’m happy for her to be my wife in Ralph & Katie. I’ve got my favourite colleague and close friend back. I love this girl!”

Ralph & Katie airs weekly on BBC One in double-bills from Wednesday, October 5 at 9 pm. It will also air on BBC iPlayer.

Caren Clark

Caren has been a journalist specializing in TV for almost two decades and is a Senior Features Writer for TV Times, TV & Satellite Week and What’s On TV magazines and she also writes for What to Watch.

Over the years, she has spent many a day in a muddy field or an on-set catering bus chatting to numerous stars on location including the likes of Olivia Colman, David Tennant, Suranne Jones, Jamie Dornan, Dame Judi Dench and Sir Derek Jacobi as well as Hollywood actors such as Glenn Close and Kiefer Sutherland.

Caren will happily sit down and watch any kind of telly (well, maybe not sci-fi!), but she particularly loves period dramas like Call the Midwife, Downton Abbey and The Crown and she’s also a big fan of juicy crime thrillers from Line of Duty to Poirot.

In her spare time, Caren enjoys going to the cinema and theatre or curling up with a good book.